A fifth of Brits think hearing is poor – but a third have never had hearing test

One in three Brits have never had a hearing test, according to research – despite 22% being concerned that their hearing is poor.

Nearly three-quarters of adults (seven in ten) have simply put up with their hearing issues for as long as they can remember – with 81% having completely missed their phone ringing.

And they get most frustrated when they have to ask others to repeat themselves, when they struggle to hear someone talking on the phone – and when people tell them to turn the TV down.

But eight in ten fear it is too late to do anything about the deterioration – with the average hearing test taking place just every three-and-a-half years, according to the poll of 2,000 adults.

Gordon Harrison, chief audiologist at Specsavers, which commissioned the research, said: “The figures clearly show how a decline in your hearing can have a serious impact on your life.

“Often hearing can decline over a long period of time, so it can creep up on people without them really noticing, until there’s an obvious problem.

“That’s not to say they shouldn’t seek help, as there are many ways to help improve your hearing.

“But it seems as though there may be a lack of understanding on how to protect yourself from the damaging long-term effects of loud noise, and how to improve your situation if you are struggling.”

It also emerged 82% of those with hearing difficulties believe their issues have impacted their quality of life.

And according to 39%, the deterioration has been a very gradual process.

But 79% admit they often feel left out because of their difficulties.

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It also emerged 45% of all adults fear a hearing decline – yet 32% of those with children don’t encourage their children to look after theirs while they are young.

Of the 44% that do, they encourage them to turn their music down, take regular breaks when exposed to loud noise, and avoid using cotton buds.

Nearly half (45%) also admitted to ignoring warnings on smartphones about listening to music too loudly.

And only 13% have had a hearing test this year, according to the research, via OnePoll.

Gordon Harrison added: “It’s worth having your hearing checked if you notice a change in your hearing, no matter what your age.

“For those who are struggling, a hearing test can provide a real insight into the problem while providing solutions, which could significantly improve an individual's quality of life.

“It’s definitely well worth getting your hearing checked regularly, to make sure you can continue to enjoy life to the fullest.”


  1. Asking people to repeat themselves
  2. Finding it difficult to hear someone talking on the phone
  3. Missing key parts of conversations with friends/family
  4. The feeling that people are getting frustrated with me because I can't hear properly
  5. Missing entire conversations because of background noise (like being in a noisy pub)
  6. Misunderstanding what people say completely
  7. People telling you to turn the TV down
  8. Struggling to hear when talking to someone with a particular accent
  9. Turning the TV/radio up really loudly
  10. Feeling anxious about the prospect of missing something important
  11. A constant ringing in the ears
  12. Not knowing where certain sounds are coming from
  13. Struggling to hear my favourite music
  14. Watching the TV with subtitles
  15. Avoiding events and conversations to reduce the risk of not hearing properly
  16. Missing announcements on public transport
  17. Having to try to lipread
  18. Feeling exhausted after attending social events – known as listening fatigue
  19. Not being able to hear birds sing
  20. Missing out on concerts

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